I am not so sure if the rail system in and around Tokyo is getting as user-friendly as rail companies seem to think.
If you have lived here more than 15 years, you will remember a time when transfer signage was frequently posted and easy to read — up above people’s heads. These days the signs are few and set lower where commuters will block and obscure them. When I asked at Kokkaigijido-Mae Station I was told “people use their smartphones more so the signs are no longer necessary.” However I hear announcements saying, “Please do not walk while using your smartphone.” Counterproductive? Maybe. Conflicting? Definitely.
Then we have the Chiyoda Line and its policy of train arrivals only one minute before departure. OK, bad idea. What happens when you have a trainload of people on one side of the platform standing around for five minutes waiting for a train while the other side (Odakyu Line) has two trains and the wash of passengers has so congested the platform that there is no way to get from one end to the other. Use your trains to help decongest the platforms. It might look nice watching a train pull in and pull out a minute later, but stations like Yoyogi-Uehara have no gates to prevent people from falling off the platform.
My message for the subway and rail companies is let’s not sit around patting ourselves on the shoulders when there is still a lot of work to do.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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